So How 'Bout that Sliding Door Kit?

Friday, June 5, 2015

So right, a synopsis of the DIY sliding door kit that I used for the hall bedroom!

In case you need to catch up, here's about some of my door planning, here's about how I'm a bozo and break things, here's part one of the door installation, and here's part two!

The kit I found by happenstance and purchased at Menards is the Johnson Hardware 72" Commercial Sliding Door Kit.*  I love that store.  As of this writing, it is cheaper on Amazon though which is the affiliate link there.

As I mentioned, I did oodles of research on sliding doors, different ways of accomplishing slide-y action.  There are zillions of ways to achieve this, possibly for less money even but truth be told, I went for simple and ease of installation.  I personally did not want to muck about with pieces and parts and such and junk this go around.  Therefore, I felt by this kit's description that it fit the I-have-high-expectations bill.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, this is not a sponsored post.  Johnson Hardware and I don't know each other, haven't met, don't hang at the corner pub.  Though I would, they seem pretty cool.  The kit was purchased by me with my own hard-earned grubby cash.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

So all righty.  What's the scoop on this kit already?, you ask.  What's the good?  What's the dirt?

The good:

Instructions and the drawings within are good and clear overall.  Again, a primer on doors, door framing, and construction is a wise time investment and will serve to enhance the instructions, speeding your process that much more.

All the vital parts (well, minus one batch of screws) are there:  top of door plates to hold the rollies, the rollie wheels, the track of course, stops to keep the door from flying off the ends (though my kit was missing one of two), and a door guide.

Many kits I found online leave out a door guide which seems a silly part to leave out.  Otherwise the door flails about, flaps in the wind, is less controllable.  So the guide, oddly of all things, is what pushed me over the edge into Buy-It land.

Finn kept snatching these parts to chew up.  Heh, it was pretty cute actually.
The kit is such that moving parts on the floor, i.e. casters, are not needed therefore you are flooring wear-, groove-, and damage-free which fulfilled one of my requirements.  Nice.

The instructions mentioned end cap cover pieces as the final step but despite having searched the entire house, it appeared my kit was end cap-less.  I checked the packaging ingredient list and they're absent but the image on the Menards website shows that they are included.  Confused, I emailed the company and with an amazingly prompt and friendly response, I was queried for my address so that they may be shipped.  Two thumbs up on the customer service!

Clean, simple, uncluttered, fuss-free, minimal and straightforward contemporary look.  According to the directions, it's possible to hang an optional valance if you'd prefer an alternate appearance.  You'd need valance hinges it says here, I assume through Johnson Hardware maybe.

You're allowed up to 125 pounds of door.  They ain't a-messin' about there.  That's a lotta door.

Assembling the parts, getting the track on the wall, twiddling about adjustments -- it's all easy and shockingly quick.  You have (nearly) everything you need in one kit and it's all figured out for you.

You can install this solo, as I did.  Or helpers are handy too, heh.

It operates quietly, smoothly, and easily, every single time.  Let me emphasize those again.  Quiet.  Smooth.  Easy.  Exactly what you want outta one of these scenarios, right?

And lastly, at about sixty bucks give or take, it's way inexpensive compared to many other track kit systems out there.  Without looking cheap or wimpy either.  Multiple thumbs up for that.

The either/or:

It does have a specific look so, you gotta be down with the look.  Or, see above on that there optional valance thingie.

The dirt:

I'm befuddled as to why screws to attach the track to the wall were not included.  It's then an added couple dollars expense plus an extra trip back to the hardware store once you (I) discover(ed) it.

The missing parts but hey, customer service was uber super duper nice via email, shipped them right away so it's not really a bad.  Just a minor, temporary inconvenience that was effortlessly and expeditiously resolved.

The door stop is a wee fussy to install -- seems like the part that sits across the track should maybe be 1/16" wider.  And the screw on mine was ornery, but I eventually got it.

The door casing situation I ran into, having to remove not only the top horizontal piece but also then the vertical pieces because they were over 1/2" thick.  That may not be everybody's cup of tea in a process like this but for me, it was no big deal at all.  I ended up with new casing I much prefer anyway.  Something to ponder though.

But!  The above is easily avoided by an option:  the track can be shimmed out so it clears any casing elements.  Keep in mind when the door is in the closed position, there may be perpendicular gaps depending on your door casing/opening dimension/door size combo.  Unless you're better at math than me and shim it out juuuust right which is entirely possible.  I decided on the track shim-less to the wall; as such that choice resulted in the cascade of the others.

The results:

So all righty, what's the final verdict?  Would I buy this kit again?

Yes.  Yes, I would.  When I was done, I gave it serious thought for our master bathroom situation but there my preference is still a pocket door.  Someday in the future.  I hope....

But yes, in the end, I would heartily recommend this kit.  It's well designed, clearly thought through.

So ok, whaddya waiting for?!  Give it a whirl and let me know how it works out for you!

Oh, by the way, a coupla' tiny tiny dabs of Gorilla glue* in the screw holes for the stick handle and bingo, no more wiggle!  That glue is awesome.

*The sliding door kit and Gorilla glue are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "Boring Stuff" tab above for more info.

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